May 3, 2017
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen spoke on the House floor today in support of the full-year FY 2017 funding bill.
The prepared text of his statement follows:
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present the House amendment to H.R. 244, a bill that will provide funding for the federal government for the rest of the 2017 fiscal year.
This bill reflects shared values that will help make our nation stronger, safer, and more prosperous. It fulfills our Constitutional duty to fund important federal services that the American people rely on every day, and it does this in a responsible way, making the best use of every single taxpayer dollar – assuring more reliability and predictability than a government operating under a Continuing Resolution.
In short, it moves our nation forward – in the right direction.
The bill includes full-year funding for the remaining 11 annual Appropriations bills – for defense, infrastructure, health, and safety programs – through the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2017, as well as critical emergency and supplemental funding requested by the President.
In total, it provides $1.163 trillion in base and Overseas Contingency Operations / Global War on Terror funding. These levels meet the caps provided by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.
This bill makes the smart decisions to invest funding where it is needed most – rebuilding our military, securing our borders, and bolstering economic growth – getting people back to work!
First and foremost and most importantly, the bill prioritizes funding for national defense – restoring the strength and capacity of our Armed Forces. Overall Defense funding is increased by $25 billion above FY16 levels.
This funding will help assure our military has proper training, the best weapons and equipment, and other resources needed to defeat ISIS, battle radical extremism around the world, and support our allies in critical regions against threats from Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea.
To rebuild our end strength, the bill includes $1.6 billion for an additional 36,000 troops above the previous Administration’s request.
And most importantly, this bill supports our brave men and women in uniform – all volunteers – and provides them with a 2.1% pay raise – the largest in six years – and takes care of their families.
To help secure our borders and protect our homeland, the bill provides Customs and Border Protection with a total of $12.2 billion – nearly a $1 billion increase above FY16.
In fact, this is largest increase to border security technologies and infrastructure in a decade – a down payment on stronger, more effective systems and barriers.
Funding is also prioritized to tackle gang and drug crime, combat terrorism, and support law enforcement. Vital agencies, like the FBI, the US Marshals, the DEA, and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, receive funding boosts for FY17.
Other domestic funding is directed to proven, effective programs that improve the health and safety of Americans. This includes increases for NIH and CDC.
And significantly, we have increased funding to battle the opioid abuse epidemic by $781 million from last year. This funding will provide treatment, education, and enforcement, and help the unacceptably high number of communities that have been devastated by this crisis.
Lastly, this legislation funds important national priorities like critical infrastructure and essential disaster relief, and supports our local communities, including renewing the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program and giving choices to parents!
This bill should also be noted for what it doesn’t fund.
Our legislations cuts, freezes, or eliminates funding for dozens of programs that have been wasteful, ineffective, or are just plain unnecessary.
For example: We cut funding at the EPA by $81 million and reined in its regulatory program to prevent overreach. We froze the IRS’s funding at current levels and directed funding to improve service to taxpayers.
And to ensure that each and every tax dollar is spent responsibly, the bill implements strong oversight and accountability at every level of government.
Mr. Speaker, I am proud to support this bill as it reflects the needs of the American people and our common values. We are investing in the security and success of our nation – and for that, this bill deserves solid, bipartisan support.
Mr. Speaker, it is now seven months into the 2017 fiscal year; we must complete our work today. It is time to look ahead and begin work on our 2018 priorities.
I urge my colleagues to support this bill.
Thank you, and I reserve my time.